Daily Tribune (Philippines)

Bigger drive seeks 1.8-M shots

They will look for areas which have low vaccinatio­n coverage of the general population, as well as senior citizens

- BY JOM GARNER @tribunephl_jom

The government is aiming to vaccinate at least 1.8 million Covid-19 vaccine doses in the fourth edition of the National Vaccinatio­n Days (NVD) also known as “Bayanihan, Bakunahan” a Department of Health (DoH) official said Sunday.

In a text message to Daily Tribune, Health Undersecre­tary and National Vaccinatio­n Operations Center (NVOC) chairperso­n Myrna Cabotaje said “Bayanihan, Bakunahan 4” will focus on the vaccinatio­n of senior citizens, individual­s who have missed their second dose or booster shots.

Cabotaje said the government will hold the event for three days on 10 to 12 March. The fourth edition of the program will now include homes and workplaces.

Asked how the government can increase the number of participan­ts in the program, she said that barangay officials have an inventory of those who have yet to get any Covid-19 doses.

“They will look for areas which have low vaccinatio­n coverage of the general population, as well as senior citizens. We are targeting 70 percent for booster shots administra­tion, †the official told Tribune.

In a separate interview, Cabotaje noted that some people are losing their sense of urgency to get booster shots, hence the vaccinatio­n over the past week has decreased.

Herd immunity goal nears

She stressed that the government is ramping up the vaccinatio­n for primary series and booster shots of local government units before the start of campaigns for local officials.

“From now up to that time, let’s ramp up the vaccinatio­n. The strategy we will do starting with our NVD part 4 is more contextual­ized and granular. Now, we will study the situation of the barangays, municipali­ties, and provinces, and determine what is lacking there,” she said.

According to the Commission on Elections, the campaign period for local positions will begin on 25 March until 7 May.

The official assured the public that the government has enough vaccine supplies to reach its 90 million fully vaccinated target before the end of June.

“We have enough stocked vaccines. What we lack now is vaccines for those aged five to 11. Only about five million doses have arrived and we ordered 15 million doses and more later. They arrive in tranches,” she said.

“We will also need Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for our 12 to 17 year olds, because they are the ones with EUA (emergency use authorizat­ion),” she added.

The third national vaccinatio­n days failed to meet its five million vaccinatio­n target despite its extension. It was initially scheduled 10 and 11 February but was later extended until 18 February.

We are targeting 70 percent for booster shots administra­tion.

The government conducted the first round of national vaccinatio­n days on 29 November to 1 December 2021 but was extended due to failure to achieve its supposed target. The drive was extended until 3 December with about 9.9 million people receiving Covid-19 shots at the end of the drive.

Meanwhile, more than 7.4 million doses were administer­ed during the second leg of the three-day nationwide simultaneo­us vaccinatio­n drive against Covid-19 which was conducted on 15 to 17 December 2021, despite being affected by the onslaught of the typhoon “Odette.”

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